Category Archives: Recipes

Feta, spinach and red pepper frittata recipe

I love a good frittata recipe. This one with spinach, red pepper and salty feta is a great breakfast, brunch or even a simple evening meal if served with a crunchy salad.

The best thing about these baked omelettes  is when you have the method down pat, you can throw almost anything in to them. I knocked up this one using a red pepper that was on its last legs, an onion and a bag of spinach a week past it’s best before date.

Key to keeping it fluffy is all about the eggs. First of all, you don’t want to skimp on them, so use eight or 12. (Even if you live alone, this will keep in the fridge for two days so you can get a couple of meals out of it. You can even throw it between two pieces of bread for a tasty sandwich!)

The second is to whisk them pretty vigorously just before you add them to the pan which needs to be pretty hot.

As they are starting to set a little in the pan, give them a good whiz around with a fork – almost like you are making scrambled eggs. Then distribute any egg that is still runny into the gaps to ‘weld’ it all together.

Finally, finish under the grill pan for a great breakfast.

Ingredients

10 eggs
0.5 red pepper
0.5 onion
100g (half a supermarket block) feta cheese
0.5 bags spinach
1 tsp coconut oil

Method
  1.  Pre-heat the oven to 250C
  2. Finely chop the onion and red pepper and lightly fry in coconut oil until the onion is translucent
  3. Add the spinach and stir until it wilts
  4. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk; turn the hob with the frying pan on high
  5. Still whisking, add the egg mixture and leave it to set for a minute, then whirl around with a fork
  6. Push any running egg into the gaps
  7. Crumble the feta on top and put into the oven until golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!

Scrambled eggs, avocado and pancetta breakfast

Combining scrambled eggs, avocado and pancetta is a really easy way to come up with a breakfast dish that will set your morning alight.

If you’re thinking “pancetta – the fatty Italian bacon?” and looking bemused think again.

On the one hand, the biggest health and fitness myth of the last 40 years is that eating fat makes you fat. Yes, we have an obesity crisis but that owes much more to people super sizing drinks and eating foods crammed with added sugar.

Most of our cells are made up of fat, dietary fat is packed with energy, and you need fat to help transport the essential fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K around the body.

This is not a licence to chow down on lard, but the right fats in the right quantities are vital to our health. If you want to read more on the science, I can recommend these two books Eat Fat Get Thin and The Real Meal Revolution.

But enough of me banging on … back to the pancetta. Crisp it and drain the excess fat off and it adds a nice salty flavour, without it being too excessive. At the end of the day, if you don’t like it or remain unconvinced, just leave it out!

The recipe is adapted from Joe Wicks’ excellent Lean in 15.

 

Ingredients (serves three)

1 pack of pancetta cubes (I prefer the unsmoked ones)
1 ripe avocado
10-12 cherry tomatoes
6 eggs
1 spoonful of coconut oil
squeeze of lemon
sprinkle of chia seeds
6 wholemeal rye crispbreads (such as Ryvita)

Method
  1. Peel the avocado and mash with the lemon juice
  2. Fry the pancetta until crispy, drain the oil and place on a plate with kitchen roll to soak up excess fat
  3. Put the pan back on the hot hob with the temperature off, halve the cherry tomatoes and place cut sized down in the pan
  4. Whisk the eggs and add coconut oil to another pan on a high heat
  5. Once the heat is smoking, turn it down to three quarters and add the whisked eggs. Scrambled eggs is again a preference, I don’t like them too dry, but I don’t like them runny either. Once the eggs start to solidify in the pan, start to scramble them and stop cooking when done as you like
  6. Pile the eggs on top of the crackers, add the mashed avo, and top with the pancetta. Decorate with the tomatoes and sprinkle with chia seeds.
  7. Enjoy!

Boiled eggs and avocado breakfast

Try this boiled eggs and avocado dish that’s perfect for an early morning start to keep you fuelled and full.

Using spinach as a base, avocado packed with good fats, and boiled eggs bursting with protein and more good fat, it’s perfect for keeping you topped up for the morning.

The killer is it’s really simple to make too – if I can do it, anyone can.

Key to the dish is getting the eggs just right. I like the yolks of mine to still be soft, with a runny bit in the middle, but for the white to be solid – I’m not one for snotty eggs (or for snot of any kind in fact)

However you like them, it’s imperative you stop them cooking more from radiant heat when you take them off the boil. When you reach that magic time that suits you, whack them straight out of the boiling water and into a pan of cold.

After about a minute you should be able to peel them easily under a luke warm running tap.

Everything else in this dish is just chopping and drizzling. What could be easier?

Ingredients

1 handful of spinach
1/2 a ripe avocado
2 fresh eggs (at room temperature)
drizzle of olive oil
squeeze of pepper
dash of lemon juice

Method
  1. Boil the kettle
  2. Take two room temperature eggs and place them in a saucepan on a hot ring on the hob and immediately cover with boiling water.
  3. Time your eggs. For me 5.5 minutes is bang on. For runnier eggs, try around four minutes, for hard boiled push up to seven or eight.
  4. When the time is up. Stand the eggs in cold water for a minute and peel under luke warm water.
  5. Put a handful of spinach in a bowl. Half the avocado and twist to separate. If you use a desert spoon and the avo is ripe enough, you should be able to scoop one half off the peel in one move. Slice and arrange on top of the spinach.
  6. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.
  7. Half the eggs, place on top and add some cracked pepper.
  8. Enjoy!

Raw-food steak and mash

FullSizeRender

Here’s a recipe you don’t have to be a good cook to prepare, simply because it needs no cooking: Raw-food steak and mash….

We’ve been doing some experimenting over the last few months in our house – largely as a result of my MSc course in Nutrition Therapy.

One of the recipes we’ve tried that stood out more than any other was this for raw food steak and mash – where the steak is actually from mushrooms and the mash from cauliflower… and not one bit of it is actually cooked!

It’s borrowed and adapated from the website rawmazing.com that is dedicated to the growing movement for eating food in as raw a state as possible. Try it, it just might change your mind on eating uncooked food!

Ingredients

For the ‘steak’:

2 portobello mushroom cups
1 pack oyster mushrooms
1/3 cup Shoyu sauce
1/3 cup Shoyu ginger sauce
2/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp agave nectar

For the mash:
1 head cauliflower
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp filtered water
1 tsp chopped rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Garnish:
Sprouted seed mix

Method

Thinly slice the mushrooms and create two marinades, each with 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 tbsp agave and 1/3 cup of either the shoyu or shoyu ginger sauces.

Place the mushrooms into two sealable bags and cover the Portobello slices with the shoyu recipe, the oysters with the ginger shoyu. Leave to marinade for at least four hours, preferably overnight.

Thinly slice the cauliflower head and place in a dehydrator or oven for two hours at 70C.

Add the cauliflower and other mash ingredients to a blender or Nutribullet and blast until smooth.

Divide the mash on to two plates and place the mushrooms on top. Use a teaspoon of marinade as ‘gravy’. Top with sprouted seeds for decoration.

Polenta porridge

polenta_porridge

Delicious polenta porridge is a great way to start the day…

Most fitness pros will tell you you can’t beat a bowl of porridge in the morning. There’s slow-release carbs, protein and lots of fibre – the latter essential for good gut health.

Even when I’m low-carbing, I usually start my day with a bowl, getting most of my allowance for the day out of the way at breakfast.

It can become a tad staid though, so I was glad to come across this idea in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light & Easy: Healthy Recipes for Every Day, a book I’d recommend to anyone looking to go gluten and/or lactose-free.

It borrows from Jamaican breakfast porridge to use polenta, or cornmeal, instead of oats.. Incidentally, cornmeal is also the main staple of the Tarahumara, the Mexican tribe with near-mythical running strength and energy who are the stars of the excellent book Born To Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race The World Has Never Seen.

It’s quick and easy to make, and while polenta can be a little on the bland side with nothing added to it, chopping a banana on top, drizzling with Greek honey and dusting with cinnamon all help to spice it up.

As a dish, there’s 4g of protein per portion, as well as 4g of fibre.

Ingredients (serves 2)

75g quick cook polenta
200ml Alpro coconut milk
1 banana
20g Rowse Greek honey
A sprinkling of cinnamon

Method

Heat the coconut milk till steaming (do not boil)
Add the polenta and whisk for about a minute until it thickens
Divide between two bowls
Top with the banana, a drizzle of honey and a dust of cinnamon.

It really is that easy!

If you want to link to the recipe on Myfitnesspal, you can do so here (you must be logged in to view)

 

Rye soda bread

rye soda bread

While not a massive fan of overloading a diet with carbs, I love this rye soda bread, adapted from a recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light & Easy book.

It takes 40 minutes to knock up a small loaf and it will stay fresh for about three days – and is excellent toasted when it starts to dry out a bit. The kitchen smells great when it comes out of the oven too.

There’s no wheat or dairy in it for anyone with intolerances and it’s just 100 calories a slice with 2 g of protein in each one.

Ingredients

200g Organic Rye Flour
0.5 tsp sea salt
1.5 tsp baking soda
100 ml, Apple juice
1 tbsp  Olive oil
20g Sunflower seeds
20g Flaxseed
20g Chia seeds
40g honey

Method

Heat the oven to 200C.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, making sure everything is evenly mixed up. As a tip, I use a hand whisk for a couple of minutes to give it a stir.

In a jug combine the apple juice, oil, honey and 100 ml of water. Mix well until the honey melts.

Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix to form a sticky dough.

Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and flour a surface and your hands.

Empty the dough onto the floury surface and roll into a round; place on the baking tray.

Cut a cross into the loaf, making sure the knife cuts around half way.

Place in the oven to bake for 30 mins until golden brown.

If you want to link to the recipe on My Fitness Pal, click here. You must be logged in to view. 

James’ egg muffins

 

done pan

These egg muffins are light, healthy, protein packed and take less than 30 minutes to make.

When you’re working out and need some extra protein to aid muscle recovery, it can be hard to find something to snack on – and chowing down on chicken all the time can be a chore.

ingredients

So here’s a great alternative: egg muffins. I can rustle up a batch of these in around 30 minutes and, although they last about a week in the fridge in an air-tight box, they never last that long.

Delicious hot or cold, you can have them for breakfast, with a side salad for a light lunch or pop them in yours or the kids’ lunch box.

Each one is just 60 or so calories but contain 10 g of protein, which will help you feel fuller longer, as will the fibre in the veggies.

pan

Ingredients
8 large eggs
8-10 button mushrooms
handful of spinach leaves
1/2onion
1/2 red pepper
30g (about quarter of a block) feta cheese
12 sprays of low-cal oil

Method
Pre-heat your oven to 200C
Fine chop all the vegetables
Cut the feta into 12 equal pieces
Spray a muffin tray (make sure it’s well covered to avoid sticking)
Divide the veggies and the feta between the trays
Whisk the eggs and divide between the trays
Give each one a little stir
Bake for 20 mins or until set and golden brown

Enjoy!

done

 

Minnesota winter chili

chili

Looking for a good, low-calorie, tasty dish? Try this vegan Minnesota winter chili – or chili non-carne as I call it. 

We were at a music festival last weekend. Inevitably, the food was all super-carb heavy, packed with gluten and there were few healthy options on offer – hey, perhaps that’s a business idea, healthy street food.

Anyway, on our return on Monday, we were all crying out for a big portion of veggies – step forward by favourite vegan runner Scott Jurek and his excellent Eat & Run book.

Jurek’s been trouncing ultramarathon runners the world over for the last decade or more, fuelled purely on a vegan diet.

His major concern when going vegan was to ensure he got enough protein – and this chili recipe certainly does that, with 9g and just a couple of hundred calories per portion.

Other benefits are it costs peanuts to make – and you can feed the family for two days on it. An excellent, healthy meal in times of austerity.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves Garlic, raw
1 cup Onion Raw Chopped
0.50 cups, Carrots
1 cup frozen sweet corn
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup red peppers chopped
1 cup green peppers chopped
400g canned tomatoes (1 can)
200 g tomato paste
400g kidney beans (1 can)
400g harricot beans (1 can)
400g black beans (1 can)
2.5 cups water
0.5 cups bulgur wheat
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp sea salt

Method

Fine chop all the veggies and saute in the olive oil
After 5 minutes, add all the beans, the water, the tomato paste and the tomatoes
Bring to the boil and add all spices and the bulgur wheat
Turn the heat down and simmer for 45 mins or so until the carrots are done to your liking.
Serve with low-fat yoghurt, cottage cheese or vegan sour cream

To link the to recipe on My Fitness Pal, click here (must be logged in to view)

Protein-packed smoked salmon breakfast idea

Protein-packed smoked salmon breakfast idea

Looking for a quick, easy breakfast? This protein-packed smoked salmon breakfast idea is so simple, any klutz could make it.

Like most people, I get a bit fed up with typically healthy breakfasts: porridge, yoghurt, fruit … and this smoked salmon option makes a nice change.

Smoked salmon is quite rich, so it’s not for every day, but it’s a delicious dish that requires zero serious cooking.

Nutritionally, it packs 16g of protein, good fats, and contains the latest superfood: bee pollen – supposedly packed with amino acids and trace minerals.

A portion is just 190 calories too.

Ingredients

2 cups spinach
120g good quality smoked salmon
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 raw beetroot
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp bee pollen (optional)

Method

Shred the spinach and divide between two bowls.
Cut up the salmon into strips and lay on top.
Peel and grate the beet and split between the dishes.
Drizzle with olive oil (1/2 tbsp each) and a squeeze of lemon.
Sprinkle with bee pollen.

And that’s it!

If you want to link to the recipe on MyFitnessPal (you need to be logged in) you can do so here

Greek butter bean stew (fasolada)

fasolada

Try this Greek butterbean stew – fasolada – for a vegetarian protein-packed punch.

“One of the things I’ve found hardest is getting a lot of protein in my diet”… it’s something I get from a lot of clients when I recommend they lower their carb intake and increase protein in an effort to lose weight and tone up.

I find it hard too – while I love chicken, fish, meat and nuts (all great protein sources), sometimes you need a change and find a veggie option can be tough. Which is why this Greek dish is so good.

Fasolada is a staple of the Greek diet, a healthy, filling and cheap-to-make stew. Like many Greek dishes, it was born from harder times where a few basic ingredients had to  be put together to create a tasty dish.

In Greece, they use ‘gigantes’ (or “giant”) beans – but they’re almost impossible to get in Britain, so I substitute butter beans instead.

You can take the easy option if in a rush by using the canned type, but I prefer it with proper dried beans (they’re in the same section as things like couscous in most supermarkets) that you have to first soak overnight.

You also get the best results using a slow cooker – but equally you could do a baked version or simply boil the dish slowly in a pan.

A portion of this is only 300 calories – and there’s 17g of protein in it.

Try adding some feta cheese too if you want to up both the calorie count and protein. Cut some into cubes, drizzle with olive oil and dip into the stew like croutons.

Ingredients

500g dried butter beans
1 onion
1 green pepper
2 carrots
1 tbsp garlic paste
100g tomato paste
water
1tsp salt
6 pepper corns
1tsp oregano
1tsp paprika
2 bay leaves
1tbsp agave nectar (optional)

Method

Empty the dried beans into a large bowl, cover with water and leave to soak overnight.

The next morning, drain, empty into a pan and bring to boil. After 10 mins, turn the heat down and allow to simmer.

Chop all the veg and fry in a little olive oil with the garlic.

Drain and rinse the beans (they will still be hard-ish at this point) and empty into a slow cooker. Add the veg, the tomato paste and top up with water.

Add the bay leaves to the slow cooker and put the other spices into a pestle and mortar and grind. Add to the stew.

Add the optional agave nectar for a slightly sweeter taste.

Cook until the beans are soft.

If you’d like to link to the recipe on myfitnesspal, click here (must be logged in to view)